Tuesday, February 5, 2008


The OED definition:

The action, habit, or quality of condescending.

1. Voluntary abnegation for the nonce of the privileges of a superior; affability to one's inferiors, with courteous disregard of difference of rank or position; condescendingness.
1647 CLARENDON Hist. Reb. I. (1843) 18/1 The duke, according to his usual openness and condescension, told him, etc. 1677 HALE Contempl. Lord's Prayer II. 104 Give us a sense of thy Great Condescention to thy weak and sinful Creatures. 1710 STEELE Tatler No. 225 {page}3 Familiarity in Inferiors is Sauciness; in Superiors, Condescension. 1752 JOHNSON Rambler No. 200 {page}6 My old friend receiving me with all the insolence of condescension. 1856 EMERSON Eng. Traits, The ‘Times’ Wks. (Bohn) II. 119 With the most provoking air of condescension.

b. with pl.
1654 WHITLOCK Zootomia 332 He [Christ] was to expiate mans Pride in the lowest Condescentions possible. 1751 JOHNSON Rambler No. 172 {page}6 He concludes himself insulted by condescensions. 1843 LYTTON Last Bar. II. ii, You have spoiled them by your condescensions.

{dag}2. The action of descending or stooping to things unworthy. Obs.
1642 JER. TAYLOR Episc. (1647) 313 Of all Bishops, he [S. Cyprian] did acts of the greatest condescension, and seeming declination of episcopal authority. a1797 H. WALPOLE Mem. Geo. III (1845) I. ii. 17 Every vice, every condescension was imputed to the Duke that the Prince might be stimulated to avoid them.

3. Gracious, considerate, or submissive deference shown to another; complaisance. ?Obs.
1650 T. B. B[AYLEY] Worcester's Apoph. 38 To answer his humour with a condescention at the first word. 1692 BENTLEY Boyle Lect. ii. 43 In compliance and condescension to the custom of their Country. 1692 RAY Dissol. World Pref. (1732) 13 He did it only in condescension to their Weakness. 1749 FIELDING Tom Jones I. vi, Their extreme servility and condescension to their superiors. 1799 W. GILPIN Serm. I. ix. (R.), If we are displeased with an opposition to our humours, we ought to shew a condescension to the humours of others. 1871 FREEMAN Hist. Ess. Ser. I. x. 291 A man who thus showed no condescension to the feelings of his age.

{dag}4. The action or fact of acceding or consenting; concession. Obs.
1648 MANTON Spir. Languish. 2 In obedience to your Order, and condescension to the requests of some Friends, I have now made it [this Sermon] publick. 1664 DK. ALBEMARLE in Marvell's Corr. Wks. 1872-5 II. 99 That some condescentions and abatements be made for peace sake. c1720 Lett. fr. Mist's Jrnl. (1722) I. 238, I almost doubt your Condescension to my Request.

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